Starter Dog: My Path to Joy, Belonging and Loving This World

Maynard, Rona

  • An irresistible tale of reluctant dog ownership full of heart, humor, and wisdom

    Rona Maynard wants to love her life again. Stuck in the what-next doldrums after quitting a big job, she needs a new bridge to the world. So, well into their married life, she lets her husband talk her into their first dog, a rescue mutt named Casey. Rona frets about shedding, lost travel opportunities, and arguments about walking duty. She doubts she can love a dog. But when Casey romps through her door, Rona falls hard. Over time he gives her what no human could — a new way of seeing and a pathway to the heart of a moment. Her downtown neighborhood reveals its true face as she explores it with Casey, making new friends and discovering hidden beauty spots. She learns to have adventures on her own stomping ground. Through Casey, Rona falls in love with the world and her place in it, an animal among other animals.


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  • Rona Maynard is the author of the acclaimed memoir My Mother’s Daughter. She capped a stellar career in magazines with a decade at the helm of Canada’s premier women’s title, Chatelaine. She lives in downtown Toronto with her husband and the rescue mutt known as Casey.

  • Published: April 2023

    ISBN: 9781770417236

    Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.

    Pages: 272

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“When you buy yourself a copy of this funny, honest adventure of a book (and you must), you’re going to want to clear a few hours and read every word. God, Rona Maynard is a good writer.” — Abigail Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of A Three Dog Life and Still Life at Eighty

“A delightful romp with a mutt for all hearts.” — Donna Morrissey, bestselling author of Pluck

“A wise woman’s reassessment of life and love, Starter Dog is a beautifully felt, thoughtful and often funny read. While the rescue mutt may be billed as the star of the show, Maynard herself commands center stage, evolving in surprising ways. Unfailingly observant, this book is deeply life-affirming — a joy to read.” — Ann Dowsett Johnston, bestselling author of Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol

“Among the many canine classics I’ve read, Starter Dog is the leader of the pack. It’s a beautiful tribute to a long marriage in which kindness toward a dog unlocks stored affection between spouses. It is also a powerful meditation on the pleasures of a life spent discovering the world from a dog’s perspective instead of slogging at the office. With humor and insight, Rona proves that some things about being human are best learned from a dog. I loved this book.” — Catherine Gildiner, New York Times bestselling author of Good Morning, Monster

“This audio will appeal to listeners seeking an upbeat and honest animal lover autobiography, as much about people as it is about pets.” — Library Journal Audio book Review

“It's beautifully written + such a good story!” — Champion of My Heart blog

“This book is an absolute tresure. It is honest, heartwarming and oftentimes funny. Not funny as in hilarious, but funny as in, oh yeah - been there, done that with my dog!” — The New Barker

Starter Dog is an enchanting love story between a pet and his human. Rona Maynard shows us with marvelous wit and sensitivity how the world is expanded and enhanced by the companionship of a dog.” — Hilma Wolitzer, author of Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket: Stories

“As a late convert to the world of dogs myself, I devoured Rona Maynard’s gorgeous, engaging prose as fast as my pup wolfs down her morning kibble. Starter Dog is far more than a tale of a woman and her dog. This gem of a book showed me it’s still possible to find simple, everyday beauty in an uncertain world and that love and connection, discovered one daily walk at a time, beat ambition and accomplishment. I loved the heart and wisdom woven through this inspirational book, and — dog lover or not — you’ll love it too.” — Laura Davis, author of The Burning Light of Two Stars and The Courage to Heal

“An elegant and engaging tale. With this tender invitation to get to know her beloved pup Casey, Rona Maynard makes dog lovers of us all — even the most ardent of cat people like me!” — Mark Henick, mental health advocate and bestselling author of So-Called Normal

“Read Starter Dog. You don’t have to be a dog lover to appreciate Maynard’s insightful narrative. It’s a hopeful interlude made for turbulent times. It’s the kind of book you consume in one sitting — and then heave a sigh as you reluctantly read the last sentence.” — Winnipeg Free Press

Starter Dog - My Path to Joy, Belonging and Loving This World is a heartfelt, well-crafted love story about finding purpose and fulfilment with a rescue dog... it’s an intriguing, poignant and entertaining book by a talented, engaging writer.” — Not the Public Broadcaster

“Animal lovers and pet owners will enjoy reading this well-written, engaging, and entertaining memoir.” — Edwards Book Club